MA Chinese Studies (Literature Pathway)


Read more about this programme on the institution's website

Programme Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

This programme enables students to engage critically with the varied aspects of Chinese literature.

This programme covers both pre-modern and modern literature of China. It includes the study of literary works written in the original languages, as well as an introduction to literary theory.

For students on this programme, the dissertation must be on a subject in Chinese Literature.

Please note that to be considered for the MA Chinese Studies (Literature Pathway) programme you will need to apply for MA Chinese Studies and select the relevant literature modules at enrolment.


A postgraduate degree in Chinese Literature from SOAS equips students with essential skills such as competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through the in-depth study of Chinese Literature, both pre-modern and modern and the study of literary theory in relation to this literature.

Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in business, public and charity sectors. They leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including written and oral communication skills; attention to detail; analytical and problem-solving skills; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.

A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.


Students take 180 credits, 60 of which are a dissertation, 30 credits of core modules, 60 credits of compulsory modules, and the remaining 30 credits can be from the list of optional modules.

All modules are subject to availability.

Compulsory Dissertation

The dissertation must be on a subject in Chinese Literature.

  • Dissertation in the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia

Core Modules

Students select 30 credits from the following module:

  • Traditional Chinese Literature in Translation


  • Select the following two modules:
    • Contemporary Chinese Literature
    • Modern Chinese Literature

Compulsory Modules

Students must take the following module.

  • Theory and techniques of Comparative Literature 15PCSC002 30 Full Year


  • 30 credits from one of the modules below.
    • Classical Documentary Texts
    • Modern Documentary Texts

Optional Modules

Students may take 30 credits from the list below. Please note that some of the modules listed below may have a language requirement.

  • China and Inner Asia
    • Connections and Intersections: Core Aspects of East Asian Studies
    • Sinological Methodology
    • Modern Film from Taiwan and the Chinese Diaspora (PG)
    • Modern Chinese Film and Theatre (PG)
    • Practical Translation: Chinese to English
    • Practical Translation: English to Chinese
    • Reading Seminar: Masterpieces of Modern Chinese Literature
    • Reading Seminar: Modern Chinese Literature and the World
  • Japan and Korea
    • Modern Japanese Literature (PG)
    • Japanese Traditional Drama (PG)
    • Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 1 (PG)
    • Reading Pre-modern Japanese Texts 2 (PG)
    • Readings in Korean Literature (PG)
    • Literary Traditions and Culture of Korea (PG)
    • Trajectories of Modernity in Korean Literature (PG)
    • Self, City and Sexuality in Modern Japanese Literature 1868-1945 (PG)
    • Writing from the Margins: Minority Voices in Modern Japanese Literature, 1945 to the Present (PG)
  • Languages, Cultures and Linguistics
    • Literature in African languages
    • Postcolonial Theory and Practice
    • Social and Political Dimensions of Modern Arabic Literature
    • Social And Political Trends In 19th Century Turkish Literature
    • Selected Topics in 20th Century Turkish Literature
    • Modern Palestinian Literature (PG)
    • Arabic Poetry and Criticism
    • Hebrew Literature from the Arab World (PG)
    • Classical Ottoman Texts (PG)
    • Classical Persian Poetry: Texts and Traditions (PG)
    • Sanskrit Literature
    • Sanskrit Texts from the Hindu Tradition
    • Literature of South Asia
    • Literature & Colonialism in North India (Masters)
    • War, Revolution and Independence in South East Asia Literatures in Translation (Masters)
    • The Urban/Rural Divide in South East Asian Literature
    • English Literatures of South East Asia
    • Under Western Eyes: European Writings on South East Asia (PG)
  • Language
    • Chinese 1 A (PG)
    • Chinese 1 B (PG)
    • Chinese 2 (PG)
    • Chinese 3 (PG)
    • Practical Translation: Chinese to English
    • Practical Translation: English to Chinese
    • Korean 1 A (PG)
    • Korean 1 B (PG)
    • Korean 2 (PG)
    • Intermediate Korean (PG)
    • Japanese 1 A (PG)
    • Japanese 1 B (PG)
    • Japanese 2 (PG)
    • Japanese 3 (PG)
    • Japanese 4 (PG)
    • Japanese 5 (PG)
    • Practical Translation: Japanese into English
    • Practical Translation: English into Japanese
    • Tibetan (Modern) 1 A (PG)
    • Tibetan (Modern) 1 B (PG)
    • Tibetan (Classical) 1 A
    • Tibetan (Classical) 1 B

Non-literature modules (China/East Asia Related):

  • Art and Archaeology
    • Arts of Modern and Contemporary China (since 1800)
    • Visual Arts of Dynastic China (to 1800) (Cohort A)
    • Chinese Porcelain: Trade, Transfer and Reception
    • Ceramics in Chinese Culture: 10th - 18th Centuries
  • Anthropology and Sociology
    • Culture and Society of China
    • Culture and Society of Taiwan
  • Media and Film Studies
    • Japanese Transnational Cinema: From Kurosawa to Asia Extreme and Studio Ghibli
    • Japanese Post-War Film Genres and the Avant-Garde
  • Economics
    • China and World Development
    • China's Economic Transformation
  • Politics and International Studies
    • Taiwan's politics and cross-strait relations
    • State and society in the Chinese political process
    • China and international politics
    • International politics of East Asia
    • Northeast Asian politics: Japan, Korea and Taiwan
  • Music
    • Pop and Politics in East Asia (Masters)
    • Musical Traditions of East Asia (Masters)
  • Religion
    • Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives
    • East Asian Buddhist Thought
    • Chinese Buddhism in Pre-Modern Period
    • The Great Tradition of Taoism 15PSRH036
    • Chinese Religious Texts: A Reading Seminar
  • History
    • Knowledge and Power in Early Modern China
    • Asian Wars: World War II and the End of Empire (1942-1960)
    • Nationhood and Competing Identities in Modern China
    • The Making of Modern Korea, 1864-1953
    • The Two Koreas since 1953 (PG)

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have a first or good second class honours bachelors degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in a subject appropriate to that of the programme to be followed. As an approximate comparison, an equivalent BA from a US university would have a Grade Point Average of either 3.3 or 3.5 depending on the awarding university. If an applicant does not have a bachelors degree in an appropriate field s/he may be required to complete a qualifying year or a one-year diploma before entering the master's programme. Relevant work experience may also be taken into consideration. Individual courses may have specific entry requirements, so you are advised to consult the postgraduate prospectus for further information.

Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent). Incoming students will be expected to have completed at least the equivalent of two years of undergraduate Chinese language study.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Nov 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read Less
London , Singapore + 1 More Less